media release

Increased dental services for our most vulnerable children

In a state-first, young South Australians who have left care will now have access to increased, free dental services and children and young people in care will have access to additional dental services under a new partnership between the Marshall Liberal Government and the Australian Dental Foundation.

Recognising good dental health is crucial, the Department for Child Protection and the Australian Dental Foundation have partnered together with the aim of promoting and maintaining good oral health through dental services for our most vulnerable children and young people.

Children and young people in care are already eligible for dental services provided by the SA Dental Service, including dental assessment, treatment and regular reviews, specialist dental treatment and orthodontics.

In addition to this, the new partnership will provide:

  • Access to free dental services for eligible young people who have left care up to the age of 25;
  • Emergency after hours dental care for children and young people in care, including in the regions through participating Australian Dental Foundation clinics. The new agreement waives after hours fees;
  • Fee capped orthodontic treatment for eligible children and young people in care who do not meet the criteria for treatment through the SA Dental Service.

Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson said the new partnership was one of many new measures the Marshall Liberal Government had implemented to improve outcomes for children and young people in care.

“Our new partnership with the Australian Dental Foundation is giving our most vulnerable children and young people the best opportunity for a healthy start to life,” said Minister Sanderson.

“As well as providing treatment for young South Australians once they leave care for the first time, our partnership also makes sure they understand the importance of good oral hygiene and regular 12-monthly check-ups.

“In addition to this measure, we’ve made many positive changes to support children and young people in care including our very successful partnership with Catholic Education SA, which is providing up to 200 scholarships to schools across the state for children in care.

“Continuing to improve outcomes for our most vulnerable children and young people in care remains a priority.”

Australian Dental Foundation chairman Dr Greg Miller said good oral health is a key indicator of overall health and is important for general well-being and quality of life.

“Throughout their time in care, and upon leaving care, children and young people should have access to quality dental services that are timely, reflective of their needs and that support and maintain their good oral health,” said Dr Miller.

“A great smile increases self-esteem and self-worth and speaks volumes for positive mental health and increased success throughout life.”